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Private Clients, Trusts & Estates

High net worth individuals require legal advice that is as sophisticated as their business and investment interests and never loses sight of their goals. This is one of our hallmarks.


Maintaining, maximizing and transferring wealth and exploiting opportunities, while minimizing complications, is one of the strengths of our Private Clients, Trusts & Estates practice. Our advice reaches beyond just minimizing taxes, but ensuring practical and effective solutions to complex issues while maintaining flexibility to accommodate unforeseen events and family situations.

Mayer Brown offers a world class range of tax, estate, business planning and charitable advisory services to individual clients, family groups, fiduciaries, and charitable organizations. We advise professional fiduciaries, represent parties in fiduciary litigation, and counsel fiduciaries in the administration of trusts and estates. Our Private Clients, Trusts & Estates practice offers extensive capabilities in the following areas:

Estate Planning
Tax considerations are of paramount concern when addressing issues of estate planning. It is vital that business owners and executives who have accumulated significant wealth properly plan for the distribution of assets to future generations to minimize the domestic or potential international tax implications and maximize the benefit for family members. Mayer Brown offers sophisticated planning advice to address these concerns and ensure effective succession, distribution and tax minimization plans. We have advised numerous high net worth families on how to efficiently transition their assets and helped clients effectively manage the tax consequences of their desires for future generations.

Family Office Representation
Wealthy families combine their resources in family offices to achieve economic efficiencies and synergies in such areas as investment management, trust services, tax compliance, legal services and expense/bill payment. The family office can take an array of different forms depending upon the particular circumstances of each family, as well as the family’s need for a formal entity structure, professional staff, clerical support, office space and other features. What all family offices have in common is that they exist in a complex legal and regulatory environment.

Mayer Brown has for several decades represented some of the wealthiest families in the United States and abroad in connection with their family offices. The lawyers in our Private Clients, Trusts and Estates practice, who serve as the principal legal advisors to wealthy families and their offices, have access to the full compliment of legal services of Mayer Brown’s global platform to address the complex needs of each family office. The following are a number of areas for which we routinely provide legal services to family offices: entity structure and formation, tax structure, private investments, regulatory compliance, SEC compliance, governance, litigation, banking and finance, corporate law, labor and employment, real estate, intellectual property and cyber security / data privacy.

Trust and Estate Administration
Effective administration is a crucial component of estate and trust planning. Mayer Brown's sophisticated experience with crafting individualized plans for high net worth individuals and families gives us a solid perspective for administering those estates upon death. Effective estate administration is a function of many factors, including federal and state income and estate tax laws as well as any potential international implications of a particular plan's provisions. Time and again, our Private Clients, Trusts & Estates lawyers have been trusted during emotionally difficult times to ensure the efficient and orderly administration of substantial estates and trusts.

Trust and Estate Litigation
Litigation sometimes is unavoidable during the emotional events surrounding the administration of an estate. Mayer Brown's extensive experience with creating trusts and estates means we are well versed in issues involving estate planning and trust administration, and successfully mediating or litigating those issues. Particularly when controversies arise between family members, sensitivity to familial dynamics is crucial. Providing clients with consistency and continuity to bring estate and trust controversies to successful and amicable conclusions is one of our greatest strengths.

Charitable Organizations
Charitable organizations provide immeasurable benefits to our communities, ranging from the provision of food, shelter, clothing and medical care to needy individuals, to the education of our children, to the support of our cultural institutions. It is important to recognize, however, that there is a complex array of state and federal laws and regulations that must be strictly followed in all aspects of the administration of these organizations. In certain cases, the failure to adhere to these laws and regulations may result in substantial penalties upon the individuals (board members and staff) who are responsible for these organizations, as well as the loss of the organization's tax-exempt status.

Mayer Brown represents a number of different types of charitable organizations, including private non-operating foundations, private operating foundations, public charities, supporting organizations, sponsoring organizations of donor advised funds, university endowments, hospital endowments, corporate foundations and community foundations. We are able to offer our charitable organization clients the full complement of legal services of our global platform to address their needs. The following are a number of areas for which we routinely provide legal services to charitable organizations: entity structure and formation, tax qualification, ongoing tax and regulatory compliance, governance, regulatory audits and investigations, internal investigations, planned giving / fundraising, endowments, litigation, banking and finance, corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, private investments, labor and employment, real estate, intellectual property, bankruptcy and cyber security / data privacy.

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